Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut novel Eileen sounded like a great and intriguing read. The 1960’s, a girl’s escape from a boring life in a small New England town, a mysterious crime – there are lots of interesting plot points going for this book, which will be released in August 2015.
Unfortunately, this does not necessarily translate to the writing. Don’t get me wrong, Eileen Dunlop is an interesting yet thoroughly unlikable character, and her insights into her life range from bland and depressive to curious and strange. But the story drags on. There is no action, and a lot of repetitions. You constantly feel like surely, next page, something is going to happen. Not so much out of suspense, but rather because you see the pages of the book running out. The interesting plot only starts at the very end, where the reader finally finds out what hideous crime Eileen was involved in.
Eileen’s story is told in the first person, by an Eileen who is fifty years older and looking back on her life. First person narrative told by a despicable character in flashback is a bold choice for any novel, let alone a debut novel. Sometimes it works, but sadly, in this case, it does not.
With its depressing story and dragging plot, I had to force myself to finish reading, and found myself ready to simply abandon the book several times. The twist is neither “Hitchcockian,” nor is the writing anything “like Shirley Jackson or early Vladimir Nabokov,” as the description claimed.
If you want a slow, dull and very sad character study, look no further. If you want a plot twist that would make Hitchcock proud – look elsewere.
My Rating: ♥
Author: Ottessa Moshfegh
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh was provided to me as an
Advance Review Copy in eBook form by
Penguin Random House’s FirstToRead.
NOTE: I originally read and reviewed this book in July 2015.